IN OBSERVANCE of the 76th year commemoration of the Araw ng Kagitingan or the Day of Valor, President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, April 9, called on the public to refrain from perpetrating acts that may put the Philippines' sovereignty at risk.
Paying respects to Filipino and United States forces who lost their lives to Japan on April 9, 1942, and the subsequent Long March, in Bataan to defend the Philippines' democracy, Duterte urged his fellow countrymen "to demonstrate the same courage and valor that sustained their gallant stand more than seven decades ago."
"I am one with the entire Filipino people in the solemn observance of the Day of Valor... Immeasurable sweat, blood and tears were shed and countless lives were lost during this dark chapter in our history to ensure that our people may pursue their endeavors freely," Duterte said.
"Let the spirit of Bataan inspire us to resist any affront to our dignity and inviolable rights as a free, sovereign and independent nation," he added.
Araw ng Kagitingan is a day of remembrance when US and Filipino troops fought side by side against the Japanese invasion and protect the country's sovereignty in the Battle of Batan. Philippine history also highlights today the tragic "Bataan Death March" where thousands of Filipino troops and hundreds of American soldiers died in a longest walk from Bataan to Tarlac.
Duterte will skip the annual commemoration rites in Mt. Samat, Bataan, as he is scheduled to fly to China on Monday afternoon to participate in a business forum.
Nevertheless, he took time in his message to raise worry over some "forces'" supposed attempts to make the country "weak and submissive."
He lamented that several groups, whose identities were not disclosed, "continue in their unbridled disrespect for the institutions and laws that embody our aspirations as a people."
"It is thus disquieting that our commemoration of this historic occasion comes at a time when the very freedoms that the heroes of Bataan fought for are once again imperiled," the Chief Executive said.
"It is our sacred duty and obligation to defend the honor of our motherland," he added. (SunStar Philippines)